Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen is joining the competition for wireless airwaves being auctioned by the FCC next month. Allen’s firm, Vulcan Spectrum, applied, as have Google, Verizon, AT&T and others, to bid for the 700-megahertz spectrum that goes on the block Jan. 24, reports Reuters. Allen's investment company, Vulcan Capital, also holds a majority stake in Charter Communications, a cable operator.
Broadcasters are releasing the spectrum as they move to digital signals. Operators covet the spectrum because signals can penetrate walls and travel long distances, opening up opportunities for mobile web applications and operators. The FCC has accepted 96 applications to bid and lists 170 as incomplete. The auction will last weeks.